Populist Daily

Politics, Culture and American Life

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Hedge Fund Managers Are Coming for Your State Pension Funds.

July 16th, 2015 · Corporations and Industry, Economics, Fascism, government intervention, Health Care, Human Rights, Labor, Lobbying, Media, Politics, Populism, Romney, Social Security, The Budget, Wall Street

One of the most serious and largest scams now being perpetrated by the Republican Party on the American public is the “unfunded liability” state employee pension debate. The true story is essentially quite different from what they would have you believe.  The Republican governors have figured out that the best way to steal from the states is to go where the money is—to the state pension funds. There is substantial evidence for this. The public understands very little about managing pension funds. The corporate-owned media has kept the public in the dark about exactly what the pension “crisis” involves in each state. The same Wall Street swindlers who bankrupted many a pension fund in the private sector are now ready to loot public pensions.

The failure to fund pensions in the private sector became so common that the government set up a new agency in the 1970s to deal with it, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, whose function was simply to pay benefits to individuals whose pensions fail for lack of corporate funding. Is this a problem? In 2010 alone, the PBGC paid out $5.6 billion to the retirees of 147 corporations who failed to fund their pension programs. But that may not go on forever. The PBGC has a huge deficit of somewhere between $25 and $50 billion. What will happen long term seems to be anybody’s guess. In the meantime, many of these corporate raiders, men who borrowed against corporate assets and pocketed the money became rich. The funds that should have gone to retirees of private firms went to the investment brokers and so-called “turnaround” specialists. Companies like Romney’s Bain Capital simply borrowed money, bought failing companies, sold off assets, dumped the pensions on the PBGC and pocketed tens of millions in fees. Many of the new Republican governors people, like Romney and Rauner and Snyder of Michigan and Kasich of Ohio all came from Wall Street. They are in office for only two reasons—to break public unions and loot public pension funds. [Read more →]

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Rush Limbaugh and the Decline of Hate Radio

June 21st, 2015 · Corporations and Industry, Fascism, Lobbying, Media, Politics, Populism

How is Rush Limbaugh, the obscenely obscene radio personality, the voice of hatred and racism, doing these days? Is he still earning his $40 million a year for the billionaires and giant corporations? Is the Hillary hater…why does he hate her so much….still grinding out his insults? Does he still thing that bright young law students (as opposed to what seem to be his favorites—Caribbean teen prostitutes) should be called whores because they would like to have contraception?

Apparently not, according to someone who should know—the head of Limbaugh’s largest network, Cumulus Radio. According to Lew Dickey, CEO of Cumulus radio, 48 of the top 50 national radio advertisers have a “no-Limbaugh” order in their files, as do all the top national advertising agencies.

Limbaugh is toxic to advertisers. So good riddance, and—what took them so long? This vile cretin has been on the air since 1988. He hasn’t changed. He fawned over Reagan and Bush the Braver, who had two major recessions and accumulated $4 trillion in debt but attacked the Clinton Administration, including First Lady Hillary Clinton every single day, while the Clinton era became the largest sustained period of growth in the nation’s history and unemployment dropped below 4%. Limbaugh is a lying, thieving, irresponsible hate-filled  propagandist for the rich. He has made nearly a billion dollars working for oil men, global corporations, and purely Fascist billionaires.  [Read more →]

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Bruce Rauner: Money and Neo-Fascism

June 12th, 2015 · ALEC, Capitalism, Corporations and Industry, Democracy, Education, Health Care, Lobbying, Media, Politics, Populism, taxes, Wall Street

For those who don’t know, Bruce Rauner is the new Republican governor of Illinois. And money? We all know what money is. Rauner is all about money. Over a long career in finance, he has amassed a fortune, basically from scratch, of  somewhere between $300 million and a billion dollars.

You don’t make that kind of money without really focusing your attention on making that kind of money unless you are someone really talented, like JK Rowling, Michael Jordan or Bill Gates. So, in finance, without your own money, you use other people’s money to make money, sometimes losing it in the process. But the new Wall Street, men like Rauner always make sure that they, focused on money, always get paid, regardless of who wins or who loses. That’s Bruce Rauner.  Rauner can be accurately described as someone who made his money in typical Wall Street investment schemes.

Of course, Rauner now has more money than he can spend in several lifetimes and so he has decided to run something more important than pension funds. He has decided to run an entire state, all the people in it—his way. The people he wants to impress are not the citizens of Illinois, although he spent about $40 million more than his opponent, Dan Quinn spent to win them over. The people whom Rauner considers his peers are his fellow citizens but his fellow rich Republicans, like the Koch Brothers, the Sheldon Adelsons and the Donald Trumps of the world. His ticket to ride on that gilded train was punched when he won the governorship.

[Read more →]

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Governor Brownback, the Wizard of Oz

June 4th, 2015 · Abortion rights, ALEC, Budgets, Corporations and Industry, Democracy, Economics, Fascism, Health Care, Human Rights, jobs, Lobbying, Media, Politics, Populism, taxes

Has Kansas, under Governor Sam Brownback, become  second-rate, with a semi-Fascist government? The answer is in the history of the state since Brownback took over.

Remember this about Fascist governments, under which domination Kansas seems to have fallen. They are never unpopular when they are being installed by their masters. Even Hitler was very popular with Germans. The Neo-Fascists of today, like the Kansas legislators, like Karl Rove and like Governor Brownback understand how to grasp power from the citizens. Dick Cheney would never have been elected President. The Republican Party knows that they need stooges, like George W. Bush. In Kansas, that stooge may be Governor Sam Brownback. Or it may be that his brand of disregard for the middle class, the working class and the truly poor and powerless is the Kansas brand of Neo-Fascism.

Or it may be in Kansas, as it is in some other states, that millions of completely propagandized, brainwashed individuals lack the understanding that their freedom is being taken away. They vote for the Party that says that it wants to return citizens and the country to its prior “freedoms.” And what does that mean? In Kansas, it was pretty simple. It has meant cutting taxes for the rich and corporations, giving them more “freedom” to amass wealth. It means reducing funds for education, closing schools, firing teachers, juggling pension funds.  It means allowing the insertion of irrational religious ideas into secular schools. It means reducing the number of people who have access to health care—think of that—deliberately cutting off poor and in some cases destitute families from health care until they are so sick they come to emergency rooms, often with a death sentence from incurable disease. It means reducing the power of the intellectuals, the universities and the newspapers with mailings and events that pander to the top ten percent of society whose lives now seldom touch those of the lower economic classes. This is the kind of government that Sam Brownback has designed for the average citizen of Kansas.   [Read more →]

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Big Oil

May 26th, 2015 · Capitalism, Corporations and Industry, Economics, Labor, Lobbying, Politics, Populism, taxes, Wall Street

Every time you put gas in your car, you support Big Oil, the major oil companies, some of the largest global corporations in the world. To give an example, the top six oil companies take in about $100 billion a year in profits. Not sales. Not revenues. Profits. Among those, Exxon/Mobil in 2013 ranked 1st in the world in profits, Shell Oil ranked 7th, Chevron ranked 8th, BP ranked 30th and Conoco/Phillips ranked 50th and then only so low because it had previously sold off its refining operations.

 

In all, the value of publicly traded oil companies amounts to roughly $1.95 trillion. One out of every ten dollars of corporate securities held by institutions or private investors is in oil stocks. Oil is a very important component of our national economy. For example, public and private pension plans hold about $561 billion in oil and gas company stocks. IRAs hold another $348 billion. The numbers are not inconsequential. Because you buy oil products every day, you are involved, like it or not.

 

We might argue that the roughly 39% of individual stock ownership in oil companies, as opposed to the roughly 60% owned by institutions, like pension funds, could be more money than those individuals—some very, very wealthy individuals…should be entitled to. But if you want to change that now, even while those individuals are doing their best to impoverish you and turn your country into a Fascist, racist state, you’re on the short end of our political philosophy. Your only hope is to slap a tax on those individuals so high that it will finally be necessary to actually look to see how many billions they still have left.

 

It is not simply the income or wealth of the inheritors of oil company founders that is dubious. And, to be fair, some have given themselves to philanthropy in huge measures. Society does require equity between average income and the unrestricted  disbursement of corporate profits if it is to remain a flourishing democracy. The average oil company CEO makes $20 million a year. It is a highly complicated job. So, some incomes can become quite high. Charf Souki, for example, of Houston-based Cheniere Energy, a natural gas developer and marketer had an income of $171,949,280 last year.  [Read more →]

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American Stagnation

May 10th, 2015 · Budgets, Capitalism, Corporations and Industry, Economics, Fascism, jobs, Labor, Lobbying, Media, obstruction, Politics, Populism, taxes, Wall Street

America has never been richer. Private assets amount to over $80 trillion, more than four times the national debt and the GDP. Yet the United States is regressing. That is not the opinion of a populist editor. That is the opinion of some of our best and brightest economists, as relayed to you by a populist editor.

Dr. Larry Summers, Dean Emeritus of Harvard University, former Secretary of the Treasury under Bill Clinton, is worried. He is worried that our country is in decline. He doesn’t put it that way. He only mentions politics infrequently and somewhat noncommittally but the comments have clear implications. We are allowing Right Wing political forces to diminish the growth of the United States economy for reasons that can only be seen as personal greed. There are constant reminders of the fact that, underlying all government obstructions of jobs, of infrastructure improvements, of social services, is the reference to “no new taxes.” Since Ronald Reagan took office and reduced government revenues by cutting taxes from 70% to 28%, the United States has grown by about 90 million people, more than a third. But government revenues have gone from 20% of GDP to 18% of GDP. How much is that? The difference is equal to about $340 billion, roughly the same as our annual deficits.

Larry Summers is a man whose life since age 28 has been spent teaching and working in the field of economics. He has held top posts at major institutions of learning and top posts in government involving economic matters. And he thinks we are becoming stagnant. In its simplest interpretation, this means that government is doing nothing to instill a desire or a need for growth among private investors and is, in fact, restraining the natural emphasis on growth by entrepreneurs. And why? Again, it is politics. Billionaires do not need to invest and they do not want to pay more taxes. In its basic form, that is why we are stagnant. [Read more →]

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Jobs in the 21st Century

April 28th, 2015 · Capitalism, Economics, Education, Fascism, jobs, Labor, Lobbying, Media, obstruction, Politics, Populism, taxes

American society is crumbling. Our buildings, roads, bridges, dams—all our municipal facilities are breaking down. And there is very little investment being made in correcting that situation. Something more important is breaking down. Our job skills. As a nation, we need the collective experience of skilled workers. Since the Bush Administration took office in 2001 U.S. corporations have sent over 60,000 factories and 5,000,000 manufacturing jobs to Asia.

Republicans in Congress have sold out to major corporations. In 2012, when America desperately needed jobs here in the United States, the Republicans defeated the “Bring Jobs Home Act.” This legislation would have given corporations a 20% tax credit for bring jobs back to the United States. It would also have disallowed the current deductions, established in the Bush Administration, of 25% for the costs of moving jobs and production out of the United States. The Republicans filibustered the same bill again when it was brought up again 2014.

From 1950 to 1970, according to sources like the Hamilton project and the Brookings Institution and others, male wages in the U.S. grew 25% per decade. In the 1970s they slowed, while at the same time more women entered the marketplace. Then they began to fall. Over the last 40 years, wages for men have fallen by 19%, and for men with only a high school education, by 41%. A man with a median income today earns only as much as a man with median income did in 1964. We’ve stagnated.

Women face problems similar to men. The share of women in the workplace advanced from about half in 1970 to over 70% by 2010. But between 2000 and 2010, they also faced wage reductions and by 2010 were making 6% less than they were in 2000. [Read more →]

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The Republicans and Growing Neo-Fascism in America

April 14th, 2015 · Corporations and Industry, Economics, Education, Fascism, Human Rights, International affairs, Labor, Lobbying, Media, obstruction, Politics, Populism, Social Security, taxes, wars and militarism

Many people think of Fascism and they think of Nazis and the Gestapo and concentration camps. That concept, while accurate as far as it goes, is not the only perspective on Fascism. There are other thoughts that should come into your mind very quickly these days so that you understand our current Neo-Fascism, i.e., the new version of Fascism. Think, for example, of what the German government was before it was Fascist and before the Fascist government became a totalitarian dictatorship. Were there always gangs of thugs running about, beating up Jews? Was there ever an actual majority of Germans who were Nazis, e.g., Fascists?

It may be more dangerous in fact to think of Fascism as the Nazis or even the smaller but totalitarian governments of the Falangists in Spain or Mussolini’s authoritarian governments in Italy. We remember them often at the end, in the war. But, you see, long before that they were Fascists. But they were not always in control. In fact, like many of our current politicians, they were thought to be either stupid or slightly nuts. Almost cartoon characters.

Long before Nazi opponents were beaten in the streets, or imprisoned or harassed, there was a small group of dedicated, anti-Semitic, race-focused people who formed a political party, so dedicated in their hatred of others, so sure that their pure strain of ethnicity was superior that when they took power they caused a calamity that ended the lives of 50 million people, often in the most horrific ways. What some of us see in current politics and against which we urge caution is the resumption of an early-stage of what is a New Fascism, (Neo-Fascism,) far more subtle and with a propaganda arm that moves over our culture like a slow, dark cloud. [Read more →]

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Inequality and Poverty

March 27th, 2015 · ALEC, Capitalism, Corporations and Industry, Culture, Democracy, Economics, Fascism, General, Human Rights, jobs, Labor, Lobbying, Media, obstruction, Politics, Populism, Social Security, taxes, Wall Street

Government is failing Americans. A nation accustomed to creating new industries, technologies and good jobs within those industries can no longer expect vision from government. Incomes, fortunes in fact, earned abroad by owners of corporations go directly from the marketplace into the pockets of the already rich. This inequality of outcomes and incomes is causing huge problems for many Americans, and most certainly for Americans who fall below the median income.

The American rich today hoard money, investing it both here and abroad in financial ventures that benefit at most ten percent of the income earners in the country. But hoarding today does not mean lack of reinvestment. It means lack of reinvestment in opportunities for domestic manufacture and industries that would be able to handle the majority of domestic needs.

We make very little of our domestic consumption here any longer. We import it, put it on shelves and hire clerks, at clerks’ pay, to stock it and re-stock it. In the 1950s through the 1970s, we made as much as 88% of our domestic consumption, from automobiles to apparel, right here in the United States. Today, we make less than 20% of American good in the United States. And after the Great Bush Crash and Depression, American jobs have not recovered.

Working in Poverty

According to one study, by the National Employment Law Project, while fewer than 2 million of the absolutely lowest paid jobs, (minimum wage up to $13 an hour) were lost, almost 4 million were added at those wages since the Bush Depression. Over 3 million jobs in the mid-range wage category (up to $20/hour) were lost and only 2 million recovered. The rest dropped into the lowest category. And finally, among the highest paid worker category (up to $32/hour) a net million jobs were lost and returned at lower wage rates. In all, four million workers had their incomes reduced, and many more undoubtedly in exempt (non-hourly) employees who are paid on a weekly or monthly basis. [Read more →]

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How the Trans Pacific Partnership Trade Bill Will Devastate Average Americans.

March 12th, 2015 · ALEC, Corporations and Industry, Economics, Fascism, Human Rights, International affairs, jobs, Labor, Lobbying, obstruction, Politics, Populism

The Republicans are up to it again. Once again, they are trying to further devastate the Middle Class. Under the guise of a popular idea, international trade, they have built a monstrous bill that they hope to run by the American Public, secretly inserting segments that will further reduce the power of average citizens. The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) a bill to create free trade between the U.S. and Asian countries is loaded with amendments that are designed to damage the lives of Americans on behalf, once again, of global corporations.

The Republicans want to “fast track” this bill, which, in this case, means to slip it past the American public whom they feel is too stupid and too lazy to stop anything that corporations do to us. Huge numbers of Americans, as well as the Democrats in Congress have already recognized the poison pills embedded in this bill and need support to defeat it. It has the same characteristics that every Koch Brothers-sponsored, Right Wing Republican, small-business bankrupting, Middle Class impoverishing bill has that passes through the many Republican state legislatures now, written by corporations, and passed on through ALEC-bribed legislatures. [Read more →]

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The Nightmare of U.S. Private Prisons

March 1st, 2015 · ALEC, Capitalism, Corporations and Industry, Culture, Democracy, Economics, Fascism, Health Care, Human Rights, jobs, Lobbying, Politics, Populism

With everything else you have to worry about—Fascism in government, domestic terrorists and the lack of intelligent response, a congress trying to overthrow all protections for citizens, the state of American prisons is not foremost in our minds. But maybe it should be a little higher on the pecking order. We want decent conditions for prisoners—hell, you never know when your brother-in-law might end up there. But, prisoners are in prison for a reason. On the other hand, you don’t want your wife becoming a crusader. That’s the last thing you want. So pay attention. This about more than just bad meals or overcrowding.

As with everything touched by the filthy hands of the Koch Brothers and their American Legislative Exchange Council, prisons are becoming dangerous not only to violent criminal lifestyles, as they were in the past. Now private prisons are on the verge of becoming dangerous to the average citizen.

We have roughly 2.6 million prisoners in local, state and federal prisons around the country. They are literally a captive market. Society sees to it that, while in custody, they have few rights, few alternatives and very little public support. Consequently they are a prime target for the victimizers, the vicious, inhumane policies of—yes, once again, the relentless Fascists, the Koch Brothers and their association-of-corporations, what some refer to as “The Fascist Trust,” the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC.) This amalgam of everything evil and cutthroat and aggressive and no-holds-barred, monopolistic capitalism has now directed its venom at prisoners. [Read more →]

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How Cable Companies Use ALEC to Get in Your Pocket

February 20th, 2015 · ALEC, Capitalism, Corporations and Industry, Economics, Fascism, government intervention, Lobbying, Media, Politics, Populism

About 100 million people in the U.S. pay for what by comparison with other countries is substandard cable or satellite TV every year. Both our cable and our Internet pale in comparison and yet are twice as expensive as the same services are in…oh, say…Paris! Yes, one of the most expensive cities in the world has less expensive cable TV and Internet that is much faster and half the cost. It is what economists, such as they are, here used to call the effects of a “free market” system. That’s right. We don’t have one. We now have five major companies serving most of the country. All five do not exist in the same market. In most places the choice is simply one of two. That is, by any definition, a monopolistic system.

Here is a rough breakdown of which companies have how many subscribers.

Comcast has 23 million. Time-Warner Cable has 11 million, AT&T U-verse has 6 million, Verizon FiOS has 5.5 million, Cox has 4.3 million, Charter Communications has 4.2 million and a remaining 8 million are divided up among six other companies. So the total of cable television viewers is about 62 million. The satellite distributors, Direct TV and Dish TV have about 34 million subscribers. So the entire spectrum of distributed multi-channel, paid television reception is around 100 million subscribers. [Read more →]

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Republicans Attacking Americans’ Affordable Health Care

February 9th, 2015 · ALEC, Capitalism, Corporations and Industry, Courts and the Law, Economics, Fascism, Health Care, Human Rights, Lobbying, obstruction, Politics, Populism

The Patient’s Responsibility and Affordable Health Care Act—commonly known as Obamacare—had a remarkable milestone recently. After something like the 50th or 60th Republican House vote to repeal (one loses count after so many) the Affordable Care Act, one must ask—why? Hasn’t that plan worked out rather well? How has that plan, one whose signing into law was voted against by every single Republican but one, with no real alternative offered by the Republicans–how has that plan worked out for Americans? Here’s how–it has brought health insurance premium price increases to a standstill.

Before discussing it, let’s remind everyone that if you have a health plan that you like from 2014, you can simple renew it for 2015. Your company should already have sent you information on rates but if they have not, you should contact them. If you have no current health insurance, you have until February 15, 2015 to get insurance for this year. It is important for you personally and for everyone else that you investigate your options, (on healthcare.gov if necessary) right away.

So—here we are with something approaching a modified national health care system. Almost like the other 36 advanced countries, the “grown ups” who do not allow heavy lobbying and as a result have better health care delivery and far more affordable health care than we. After an analysis of health care premium increases from 2014 to 2015, the Commonwealth Fund and the National Conference of State Legislatures, among others have reported that there is good news. On average—there were no premium increases nationally. Yes, on average health care insurance premiums did not rise–for the first time anyone can remember. [Read more →]

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The Republicans’ First Act: Attack Abortion Rights

February 1st, 2015 · Abortion rights, Culture, Democracy, Education, government intervention, Health Care, Human Rights, Politics, Populism

The Republicans have returned to power. They now control the House of Representatives and the Senate. They rode in on a wave of gerrymandered House seats and the contributions of hugely wealthy political Pacs. The Senate victory was predictable, as the money went even farther there. The Republicans elected 54 Senators by winning all 9 of the 9 open seats. In the House of Representatives the Republicans won 244 seats in a legislative body that requires only 218 for a majority. Having won a major victory, what was their first piece of legislation? Was it on jobs, or falling down bridges or collapsing tunnels or trimming the military budget or fixing Social Security or finding ways to bring solid health care to the poor, of which there are now one out of every three Americans? The answer is no.

It was on abortion. It isn’t enough to vote 51 times to repeal (rather than “reform” or “adjust” or “improve”) the new health care law that attempted to give American Citizens the right to affordable, undeniable health care. They had already found ways to make health care more difficult for women, like the unpopular but Supreme-Court-dictated “Hobby Lobby” decision. You may recall that the great Republican, Rush Limbaugh, their most formidable opponent of women’s health, called Georgetown Law Student, Sondra Fluke, a “slut” because she, like a hundred million American women, 98% in fact, wanted to use birth control. Not only was their first piece of legislation in the new House of Representatives on abortion, but it was called, “The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.” The title itself tries to indicate that the reason for cutting the period in which a woman can have an abortion from 24 weeks to 20 weeks is that the fetus feels pain at 24 weeks. That is, of course, not true. [Read more →]

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The Year 2014 in Review

January 19th, 2015 · Culture, Entertainment, Politics, Populism

Before we take a look at the serious issues facing Americans in 2015, we thought it would be a good idea to take a lighter look at the “significant” events of 2014.

January

January 2014 sees the introduction of an entirely new winter climate, the Polar Vortex, sponsored by Disney Studios in support of their new film, “Frozen.” To assist little girls in purchasing more dolls and doll paraphernalia than there are potato chips in circulation, Disney declares 2014 the year of the Polar Vortex. It decrees that temperatures in states above the latitude of Virginia will remain no higher than 14 degrees Fahrenheit until April. In January, somewhere in Europe, Latvia formally adopts the Euro and become the 19th member of the Eurozone. On hearing this, Eurozone President Jean-Claude Juncker comments, “We are happy to have Latvia as a new member. By the way, where is Latvia?” On this side of the Atlantic, Dick Cheney says, on Fox News, “I didn’t know about Latvia. We must attack Latvia, wherever it is, until Halliburton stock rises high enough to pay for my next heart transplant.” After the New Year, Colorado legalizes the sale of marijuana. Snack food purchases increase by 38% in one month. In “celebrity” news, Kim Kardashian asks networks for air time to seek public assistance in finding a missing jar of skin cream. Dennis Rodman visits North Korea to ask Kim Jong Un for the release of a pair of his former sneakers. Target reveals that 40 million credit cards compromised may actually have been as many as 70 million. David Koch and Donald Trump immediately volunteer to cover any losses if Obama will only attack Syria, repeal new health care laws, lower taxes on billionaires and reduce Social Security to a Christmas Savings plan.

February

The Ebola virus breaks out in West Africa, with deadly consequences for tens of thousands, evoking a worldwide sympathetic response. In Sochi, Russia, the XXII Winter Olympic Games are televised, evoking a similar response. NBC sportscaster Bob Costas is temporarily blinded by an airborne knish during a Olympic Village food-fight. Alternate “broadcaster-in-waiting” Sarah Palin offers to take over because, she says, “I could see from my porch that Costas was in trouble.” By February, most cities north of St. Louis were frozen solid, causing Disney to ask climatologists for a little global warming. Tens of millions, trying to get in out of the cold, make “Frozen” the highest grossing animated work not about killing, maiming, rape or auto theft. Defending the anti-climate change groups, Rush Limbaugh attacks Canada, saying that the polar vortex was actually, “an international plot created by Canadian CIA and George Clooney.” The Canadian Prime Minister refuses to respond until someone explains what “CIA” stands for. Russia annexes the Crimea. Canada refuses to annex Detroit, although Congress offers it free. Kim Kardashian recovers her skin cream and “America’s Most Wanted” returns to finding killers. General Motors announces the recall of 780,000 vehicles due to faulty ignition switches. Testifying before a Congressional committee, GM’s CEO Mary Barra, says, “Is that the little key hole near the steering wheel?” In February the “Bridge-gate” scandal comes to light. Some people say that Governor Chris Christie has knowledge of traffic being blocked from New York City on the George Washington Bridge. Refusing to testify or appear in public, Christie hides behind the Chrysler Building for three days.

March

Malaysia Airlines flight 370 disappears over the Gulf of Thailand on a flight to Bejing, with 239 passengers on board. CNN, Fox, MSNBC, CBS, ABC and Channel 45 in Waallooo, Arkansas maintain 24-hour coverage until no one can any longer remember “Flight 370,” or the country from which it departed or whether it was a movie starring Josh Brolin. Bill O’Reilly claims the disappearance is all Obama’s fault until he learns that he was actually looking at a 1927 film of Charles Lindbergh taking off from Roosevelt Field. Kim Kardashian brings out her new line of cosmetics, given its brand name by her fiancé Kanye West, “Good Shit.” Senator Rand Paul from the State of Kentucky, wins the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) straw poll for President. Second place goes to Governor Rick Perry of Texas and third place to a popular Eastern Lowland Gorilla named “Fenworth.” Pizza Chain, Sbarro, files for bankruptcy. “It has been tough,” a franchisee comments, “First we had to eliminate the cheese, then the toppings, one by one. Soon, we eliminated the tomato sauce. Eventually, people lost interest in salted bread.” Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew creates an international incident when he cannot stop laughing while introducing Chinese Vice Chairman, Wang Yang. A barge carrying a million gallons of oil collides with a ship in Galveston Bay causing a huge oil spill. On discovering that Houston public water has turned black, Texas Governor Rick Perry declares that petroleum will now be considered a “condiment.” Major League Baseball season opens with a game between Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamond Backs played in Sydney, Australia. Winning pitcher Clayton Kershaw says, “We thought we were on a flight to Phoenix for nachos, when a bunch of Aussies began buying us beer. The next thing I knew we were in Sydney and it was the fourth inning.” In late March, Nissan recalls one million automobiles. Citing the recalls by other auto makers, Nissan management says, “We’re not sure why. It just felt like the right thing to do.”

April

The militant Nigerian group, Boko Haram, kidnaps 276 young women whom Nigeria maintains are being held as sex slaves. Boko Haram management maintains this is merely an “outing” and promises to return the girls by Friday “before the streetlights come on.” When asked what he thinks should be done about Boko Haram, Senator Ted Cruz comments, “I’m not sure, but I like his music.” The “Bridge-gate” Scandal continues to make news as Governor Chris Christie is accused of having known about the delays to traffic in and out of New York City. Christie maintains the information may have fallen on the floor at his feet where he could not see it. Christie says that he will not discuss matters in which he does not believe, like political corruption or sugar-free muffins. Super Bowl XXVIII with 111 million viewers becomes the most watched event in television history with the possible exception of Kim Kardashian’s announcement of a new fragrance to her line of cosmetics. Again branded by her husband, Kanye West, this one is called “Real Good Shit.” Chrysler recalls 870,000 Chevrolets and Fords.

May

Monica Lewinsky releases a book on her affair with former President Bill Clinton, portions of which had previously appeared in “Cigar Aficionado” Magazine. Prime Minister of Thailand, Yingluck Shinawatra is called before a constitutional court but is released when no one can spell her name correctly. Russian President Vladimir Putin signs a law forbidding profanity at all cultural events. Asked to comment, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev says “What? Son-of-a-Bitch!” Kim Kardashian and her husband Kanye West bring out a new French fragrance which they name “Merde.” The National Football League draft begins at Radio City Music Hall in New York. Several players resist the draft saying that they will move to Canada rather than play for Oakland or Jacksonville. Others say that they will play but will not tackle or block. Continuing its coverage of rumors about Malaysian Airlines flight 370, CNN reports that the plane may have been flown to New Jersey and hidden behind Governor Chris Christie. Christie says he makes no comment on absurd rumors about airplanes or the nutritional value of boiled vegetables. Following Chrysler’s lead, Nissan recalls one million Toyotas and ships them to Brazil.

June

CNN Reports that Flight 370 has been seen landing in Anchorage by members of the Palin family during a fistfight at a beer garden. Martin Kaymer of Germany wins the U.S. Open by six strokes. This is unusual only because Germany has only one golf course for 60 million people. Kaymer said that growing up as a golfer in Germany the hardest part was “waiting for your turn to putt.” Kim Kardashian and her husband announce their latest French perfume, “Mieux Merde.” Chicken King, Tyson Foods, buys Pork King, Hillshire Farms for $7 billion and twelve billion pounds of feathers. The professional basketball season, which had begun in 1998, finally ends but the results are inconclusive, as the playoffs have gone on so long that fans and players have forgotten the rules. When asked about the finals, the CNN director of sports says, “I think they are still going on somewhere in Malaysia.” The Supreme Court rules that closely held private corporations will not be required to include contraception in their health care plans. When asked what would happen to the increased number of unwanted children that might result, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia replies, “I assume they’ll be adopted by Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.” [Read more →]

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